I’ve confessed this before: I love bread. I could live by bread alone. Well, almost. Like most folks, I love bread pudding in the sweet form. But I’ve been experimenting with savory bread pudding, and I’m here to report that it’s fantastic. This is an updated casserole of sorts, though much, much easier. And this “pudding” welcomes all ingredients — in fact to shop for it goes against its humble nature.
I could have called this the “Kitchen Sink” Bread Pudding, because it cries out for using the odds and ends in the refrigerator or larder — vegetable, meat or cheese. I happened to have a couple of slices of prosciutto and a package of sliced peppered salami. I also had some shredded parmesan and mozzarella, but any combination of cheese would be great. In fact, if you make this bread pudding with a combination you think is sublime, let me know. I’m always looking for ideas for my kitchen table.
Savory Bread Pudding | 4 to 6 servings
This makes a hearty 4 or 5 servings as a main dish, or 6 as a side. If you don’t have stale bread on hand, tear up any bread and let it dry out overnight or in a very low oven.
8 handfuls of stale bread torn into bite-sized pieces or cubes
(about 10 cups — I used 1 baguette and a demi olive bread)
3 cups of milk (a little less if the bread is less stale)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced to a paste
10 slices peppered salami, chopped
4 slices prosciutto, chopped
4-inch sprig fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
2 tablespoons pesto
1 cup chopped or shredded fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
Butter a 9 x 13 inch casserole.
Put the stale bread pieces in an oversize bowl. Combine the eggs and milk and add a little salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the bread, tossing well to coat the pieces. Let the bread stand for 20 minutes or until it is soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
While the bread is soaking, preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and wilt the onions for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add the chopped salami, prosciutto, and rosemary and cook for 1 more minute.
To the soaked bread, add the cooked onion and salami mixture, pesto, and 2/3 of the cheese. Combine well.
Scoop the mixture into the buttered casserole and distribute the remaining cheese over the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes. The top will be golden brown and slightly crispy.
If it doesn’t all get eaten fresh from the oven, it’s awfully good heated in the microwave, and as long as you’re doing that why not put a poached egg on top? Mmmm.
Kelly McCune © 2010